Hobbiton in New Zealand
Travel Tips

75 of the Best Travel Movies Ever Made

Jessica Spiegel

Jessica Spiegel

August 8, 2023

7 min read

Wanderlust has a healthy appetite and requires regular feeding. When you can’t be out exploring the world for whatever reason, one easy and entertaining way to feed your desire to travel is to watch movies that are either about travel and adventure or are set in a location that is featured so prominently that the scenery almost becomes a character.

To that end, we’ve compiled a list of 75 of the best travel movies ever made, from the sweeping desert vistas of “Lawrence of Arabia” to the focus on a single neighborhood in “Notting Hill” and everything in between.

Settle in with some popcorn and let these travel films take you all over the world without leaving your living room.

Movies Set in Europe 

Mont Saint-Michel.

1. Mindwalk (France)

There’s no reason a movie based on a book about physics, in which three people (a politician, a poet, and a physicist) have a two-hour conversation, should be so enjoyable to watch. No reason, that is, except the entire conversation is fascinating and it takes place at Mont Saint-Michel. Fair warning, there’s a good chance you’ll want to live on the island by the time the movie ends.

Available on: YouTube

2. Amélie (France)

This is the film that made the world fall in love with Audrey Tautou—and with the artsy Montmartre neighborhood in Paris. Tautou plays a young woman determined to secretly make people’s lives better, which inadvertently improves her own. The film follows Amélie on her missions through the hilltop Montmartre area of Paris, including glimpses into everyday Parisian café life, and even includes a “traveling gnome” that sends postcards from all over the world back to Amélie’s puzzled father.

Available on: Hulu, Amazon 

3. French Kiss (France)

A sweet American (Meg Ryan) learns her fiancé has left for a French woman, so she sets off to find him on the Côte d'Azur and convince him to return to her. En route, she meets an uncouth French smuggler (hilariously played by Kevin Kline), and chaos ensues. While the film makes the most of plenty of stereotypes about the French, it’s a sweet story that—predictably—ends with those stereotypes being fairly well dashed. 

Available on: Amazon

4. To Catch a Thief (France)

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly star in this classic Alfred Hitchcock film about an erstwhile burglar who works to apprehend a jewel thief on the French Riviera when officials believe he’s come out of retirement to commit the heists. It’s an interesting peek at how “the other half” once traveled, and what the French Riviera of the 1950s looked like.

Available on: YouTube, Amazon

>> Read our travel guide to Provence.

5. Two Days in Paris (France)

A troubled couple spends (you guessed it) two days in Paris after a visit to Venice fails to rekindle their romance. Both must wrestle with their own insecurities as well as the challenges of their relationship. Among the many Parisian filming locations is the long-time pilgrimage site of Jim Morrison’s grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Today, the grave is cordoned off, but once upon a time it was festooned with graffiti, notes, flowers, and candles.

Available on: Amazon

6. The Hundred-Foot Journey (France)

An Indian family arrives in a small French town and decides to start an Indian restaurant there—only to find the proprietor of a high-end French restaurant (played by Helen Mirren), which sits a mere 100 feet from their space, isn’t keen on the new arrivals. The storyline (residents not welcoming to outsiders, outsiders win over residents in the end) may not be groundbreaking, but the cultural and culinary fusion appeals to the food-loving adventurer in all of us.

Available on: Netflix, Amazon

7. Paris, je t’aime (France)

Anyone who loves Paris will enjoy “Paris je t’aime” (Paris, I love you), a series of 18 short films that are each set in a different arrondissement. The collection features an all-star cast of directors and actors, including Gus Van Sant, Wes Craven, Joel and Ethan Coen behind the camera and Steve Buscemi, Juliette Binoche, Willem Defoe, Nick Nolte, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, and Margo Martindale (among many others) in front of it.

Available on: Amazon

8. The Way (Spain)

Martin Sheen plays a father who goes to France to retrieve the body of his son (played by his real-life son, Emilio Estevez), who died while walking the Camino de Santiago. Instead of simply returning home, however, he decides to finish the pilgrimage his son started. It’s simultaneously a story of what it means to go beyond your comfort zone and trying to find meaning in the journey.

Available on: Amazon

Camino de Santiago.

9. L’Auberge Espagnole (Spain)

A small group of college exchange students from all over Europe live together in a Barcelona apartment (the title means “The Spanish Inn”). There’s plenty of culture shock and several languages spoken throughout, giving viewers something of the authentic fish-out-of-water feeling travel offers—without the accompanying jetlag.

Available on: Amazon

10. The Talented Mr. Ripley (Italy)

This eerie tale of an American with a talent for deception is set in several beautiful Italian locations—including Venice, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast. It’s something of a period piece, but of course so much about Italy stays the same over the years that travelers can still find a spot at the outdoor café in Venice from the film.

Available on: Netflix, Amazon

>> Read our travel guides to Venice and Rome

11. Roman Holiday (Italy)

Take Audrey Hepburn as a princess visiting Rome who wants to escape her royal trappings. Add Gregory Peck as an American journalist who wants a story but also wants to protect her. You’ve got the makings of a classic—plus plenty of shots of only-in-Rome moments like visiting the Spanish steps or cruising through the city on a Vespa. 

Available on: Amazon, Crackle

12. Only You (Italy)

Just before her wedding, an American woman (Marisa Tomei) takes an unplanned trip to Italy in pursuit of the man whose name matches the one a Ouija board foretold would be the love of her life. She follows his trail from Venice to Rome through the Italian countryside, with plenty of spectacular scenery along the way. 

Available on: Amazon, YouTube

13. Pane e Tulipani (Italy)

In this film, which means “Bread and Tulips” in English, a beleaguered southern Italian housewife is accidentally left behind by her family on a vacation in the north. Instead of making her way back home, she instead decides to spend some time in Venice—where she finds herself in a whole new life. The theme of becoming a new person in a new city isn’t unfamiliar to travelers, though most of us don’t lease an apartment and take a job on the spur of the moment.

Available on: Tubi, Amazon, YouTube

14. Call Me By Your Name (Italy)

This is a coming-of-age story about two young American men in a small town in the Lombardy region as they discover they have feelings for one another. Footage was shot in and around the enchanting town of Crema with a romantic three-day visit to Bergamo in northern Italy.

Available on: Amazon, YouTube

15. A Room With a View (Italy)

E. M. Forster’s 1908 novel comes to life in this period piece in which a young English woman, played by Helena Bonham Carter, and her guardian cousin, played by Maggie Smith, book a holiday in Florence. The hotel had promised them “a room with a view” of the Arno River, which they arrive to find they don’t have; when a father and son offer to trade rooms, a romance blooms. The scenes of the Pensione Bertolini were actually filmed in a villa in nearby Fiesole, a hilltop town that overlooks Florence.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

16. Under the Tuscan Sun (Italy)

Frances Mayes’ popular memoir of the same name gets something of a fictionalized treatment in the movie version, but it’s a delightful romp through the gorgeous Tuscan countryside (with a side of sunny Amalfi Coast thrown in for good measure).

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

17. Enchanted April (Italy)

Based on a 1922 novel, this film sets four English women who don’t know one another in an Italian castle for a month-long holiday. While the film is a throwback to a traveling style that doesn’t really exist anymore, it’s more than enough to make you want to rent an Italian castle for a month.

Available on: Amazon, YouTube

18. Tea With Mussolini (Italy)

A group of English and American women in Italy just before World War II, including one who secures an afternoon meeting with Mussolini himself, must contend with the effects of the war on their safety. The all-star cast includes Cher, Judi Dench, Lily Tomlin, Maggie Smith, and Joan Plowright, and many scenes were filmed in the hilltop Tuscan town of San Gimignano.

Available on: Amazon

19. Il Postino (Italy)

A postman on the small Italian island of Procida befriends Pablo Neruda, enlisting his help to woo the woman of his dreams. When Neruda leaves the island for his home in Chile, the postman begins recording snippets of life on the island to send to his old friend. Postcards are rare enough these days, audio postcards even more so, but it’s a nice reminder that sights and smells aren’t the only senses that come alive in new places.

Available on: YouTube

20. Letters to Juliet (Italy)

This romantic comedy finds an American visiting Verona to join the letter-writing volunteers at Juliet’s House as her own engagement falls apart. Shakespeare’s famous tragic tale, “Romeo and Juliet,” draws visitors to the city of Verona who are searching for evidence of Capulets and Montagues. The story is fiction, but the house that’s been christened “Juliet’s House” (the balcony area is always crowded, never mind that the balcony was only added in the 20th century) is still a magnet for forlorn lovers asking for advice. There is a real team of volunteers who reply to real letters, too—look for the “Letters to Juliet” mailbox.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

21. Benvenuti al Sud (Italy)

The Italian north and south have long-held biases against one another, all of which are played to brilliant comedic (and sweet) effect in this tale of a northern Italian postal employee sent to work in a small southern Italian town. This film, the title of which is “Welcome to the South” in English, was followed by “Welcome to the North” when one of the characters from the southern Italian town—you guessed it—heads north.

Available on: DVD

22. Summertime (Italy)

An American secretary (played by Katherine Hepburn) saves up for a dream vacation in Venice, only to feel a little depressed at being in the romantic city on her own. Until, that is, she meets a charming Venetian antiques dealer who sells her a Murano glass goblet he says is an antique. Despite the apparent message of the film, Venice is a perfectly lovely place to visit whether or not you’re in a romantic relationship. Determining the authenticity of Murano glass antiques is, however, still a challenge today.

Available on: Amazon, YouTube

23. A Little Romance (France/Italy)

Diane Lane makes her film debut as a 13-year-old American visiting Paris who falls for a 13-year-old French boy. The pair hear that kissing under Venice’s Bridge of Sighs at sunset will make them stay in love forever and head for the canal city to try to make that happen. This film is one reason why so many couples pay a premium for sunset gondola rides under the Bridge of Sighs, perhaps not realizing that the bridge itself was never romantic—it’s actually the bridge over which convicts would be led from the courtroom to prison.

Available on: Amazon

24. Before Sunrise (Austria)

The first in this series of beloved films, “Before Sunrise” introduces us to two young strangers on a train who decide to take a detour in Vienna for one evening together before continuing to their ultimate destinations. Spontaneity has long been one of the perks of solo travel, which is played to great effect in “Before Sunrise.” When you fall in love with this one, put the sequels “Before Sunset” (set in Paris) and “Before Midnight” (set in the Greek Peloponnese) in your queue.

Available on: Amazon

25. In Bruges (Belgium)

This (very) dark comedy pits two Irish gangsters (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) against a displeased boss (Ralph Fiennes). They’ve tried to hide themselves in Bruges, but they don’t manage to elude their pursuer for very long. There’s an unforgettable scene at the Belfry of Bruges, which you may never look at the same way again after watching.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

26. Mamma Mia (Greece)

When a celebration of all things ABBA turns into a musical and then into a movie, you get “Mamma Mia.” A young woman of uncertain parentage invites three men to her wedding in Greece, each of whom might be her father. Hijinks, and several musical numbers, ensue, but the real draw is the gorgeous scenery of the Greek island of Skopelos. 

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

Skopelos, Greece.

27. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Greece)

Four inseparable teen girls are spending a summer apart and decide to share one pair of seemingly magical jeans that fit all four of them despite their being different sizes. One of the four storylines, featuring Alexis Bledel of Gilmore Girls fame, takes place in Greece, among the whitewashed houses and cerulean water of Santorini (others are in Mexico, Maryland, and South Carolina).

Available on: Amazon

28. My Life in Ruins (Greece)

A language teacher in Greece, played by Nia Vardalos, tries to put her life back together as a tour guide of the country’s ancient ruins with a challenging group. Along the way, she learns to see things from a different perspective in order to appreciate them—a good travel lesson if ever there was one.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

29. Transsiberian (China/Russia)

A couple traveling from China to Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway befriend another couple on the train, with disastrous results. Old-school rail travel always seems romantic to those of us who are more likely to hop on a cheap flight instead these days, but long-distance train routes (including the Trans-Siberian) still exist—albeit usually without the murder and mayhem.

Available on: Amazon, Crackle, Tubi

30. Eurotrip (Europe)

When one American teen heads to Europe to find his German pen pal (with whom he’s in love), he brings a trio of teen friends on a comedic adventure through London, Paris, Amsterdam, Bratislava, Berlin, and Rome. Whether you backpacked Europe in your younger years or just wish you did, this fun romp will have you nostalgic for a multi-country trip across the continent. 

Available on: Amazon

31. Chasing Liberty (Europe)

The young daughter (played by Mandy Moore) of the US President manages to successfully evade her security detail during a European trip, during which she visits Prague, Venice, Berlin, and London—and finds love. Of course.

Available on: Amazon

32. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Iceland/Greenland)

A New York magazine worker (Ben Stiller) heads to Greenland and Iceland (among other places) trying to track down a photographer to retrieve an important photo negative, and a sweet and charming comedy of errors ensues. The scenery is as impressive as you’d expect—if not more so. And, because you might start taking notes for future trips, the road from the skateboarding scene is called Seyðisfjarðarvegur.

Available on: Amazon

>> Read our travel guide to Iceland.

33. Notting Hill (England)

This romantic comedy stars the London neighborhood in the title as much as Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, the latter two as an average Londoner and a famous American actress who begin an improbable romance. In a city as big and busy as the English capital, the zoom-lens focus on one neighborhood is a nice reminder that it can be just as rewarding to really get to know one little corner of the world as it can be to fill a passport with stamps.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

34. Stone of Destiny (Scotland/England)

Based on actual events, this movie tells the story of four Scottish students who steal the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey in 1950 to bring it back to Scotland. Filming took place in England, Wales, and Scotland, and the filmmakers got a permission rarely granted—to film inside Westminster Abbey itself.

Available on: Amazon, Vudu, Tubi

35. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Scotland)

While some of the scenes of this 1975 comedy classic were shot in England and Wales, most exterior filming took place in Scotland, including Doune Castle and Castle Stalker. The latter is privately owned, though they offer some tours during the summer—so if you want to recreate the iconic final scene, you’ll need to plan ahead accordingly.

Available on: Amazon, Netflix

36. The Quiet Man (Ireland)

John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara star in this film about an Irish-American man who returns to his ancestral farm in Ireland in order to buy it. Much of the filming was done in and around the town of Cong and the lush Irish landscapes make beautiful fodder for trip planning. During production, the cast stayed at the nearby Ashford Castle; once the home of the Guinness family, it’s now a luxury hotel. 

Available on: Amazon

Movies Set in Asia


37. Lost in Translation (Japan)

This film, which takes place largely in a fancy hotel in Tokyo (the bar scenes were filmed at the Park Hyatt), delves into that weird out-of-body sensation you get when traveling—when you’re not quite in your destination, you don’t quite understand the culture or language, or you’re floating through a haze of jetlag.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

38. Ramen Girl (Japan)

An American girl follows her boyfriend to Tokyo, stays on after he dumps her, and—after eating a perfect bowl of ramen—decides to learn how to make it. Falling in love with another country’s staple dishes is a common side effect of traveling, even if most of us don’t have the luxury of staying long enough to figure out how to cook it.

Available on: Amazon, Tubi

39. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (India)

How many great travel stories begin with the hotel being not exactly as billed on the website? In this one, retirees from England decide to relocate to Jaipur to what’s been billed as a “retirement home” which turns out to be in very sorry shape when they arrive. 

Available on: Amazon

40. The Darjeeling Limited (India)

In this popular Wes Anderson film, three brothers travel across India by train after their father’s death, a trip orchestrated by one of the brothers (more or less without the consent of the other two). Along the way they experience the sights and sounds of India as they explore its markets and temples.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

41. Slumdog Millionaire (India)

As a young man competes on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” flashbacks throughout his life demonstrate how he knows the correct answer to each question he’s asked on the show. Rags-to-riches stories are always appealing, and perhaps even more interesting when the culture in which the story takes place is not our own.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

>> Read our travel guide to Bengaluru.

42. Crazy Rich Asians (Singapore)

This comedy hit tells the story of a Chinese-American woman who journeys to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s (very, very wealthy) family and struggles to fit in as she deals with family drama, conniving ex-girlfriends, and her own Chinese identity. There are some epic shots of Singapore, including a visual feast at a food market that’ll make you want to eat your way through the city ASAP.  

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

43. The Beach (Thailand)

A cult favorite about chasing the idea of paradise, The Beach brought such an onslaught of visitors to the Thai beach where it was filmed, the beach had to be closed due to damage. While the scenery in the film is stunning, the movie also serves as a warning to those of us who venture into the world: tread carefully.

Available on: Amazon

44. The Farewell (China)

This semi-autobiographical tale depicts a Chinese-American family that travels to Changchun for one last visit with a dying grandmother. Heartfelt and sweet, it features several scenes from a lesser-known Chinese city and explores the way Chinese culture approaches death. 

Available on: Amazon

45. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (China)

This award-winning fantasy film turns martial arts into a kind of acrobatic ballet against the beautiful backdrop of 18th-century China. Filming locations included the Anhui, Jiangsu, Hebei, and Xinjiang provinces in China, as well as the Gobi Desert.

Available on: Amazon, Netflix

Movies Set in Africa

elephants in Kenya.

46. Out of Africa (Kenya)

This movie, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, is loosely based on the Isak Denisen autobiography of the same name depicting the author’s years as a rancher in British East Africa in the early 20th century. While you can’t ignore the colonialism themes, the sweeping views of Kenya are gorgeous.
Available on: Amazon, Hulu

47. The Sheltering Sky (North Africa/Sahara Desert)

Based on a novel of the same name by Paul Bowles, this film tells the story of an American woman (played by Debra Winger) who ends up alone in the Sahara Desert and joins a camel caravan. Some adventures might not be by your own design, or even your idea, but sometimes they come along just when you need them.

Available on: Amazon

48. Lawrence of Arabia (North Africa)

This much-loved and multi-award-winning epic film chronicles some of the real-life adventures of T. E. Lawrence, including his perilous journey by camel across the Sahara Desert. The desert scenes were actually filmed in Jordan and Morocco, with additional filming in Seville and other parts of Spain.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

>> Read our travel guide to Jordan.

49. A Far Off Place (Kalahari Desert)

After their parents are killed, two teens (one played by a young Reese Witherspoon in one of her first major roles) must travel on foot across the Kalahari Desert with a bushman friend to escape the murderers and report them to authorities. Along the way they learn to survive in one of the harshest deserts on earth, while viewers are treated to expansive views of the ever-shifting sands. 

Available on: DVD

50. The Gods Must Be Crazy (Botswana/South Africa)

A glass Coke bottle falls inexplicably from the sky near a bushman who assumes it must be a gift from the gods. The tribe later decides it’s a curse which must be disposed of, so the bushman sets off on foot across South Africa and Botswana to discard it at the end of the world. It might be a travel trope to think a commonplace object is fascinating just because it’s not common where you live, but it’s still one that resonates.

Available on: Amazon

51. The English Patient (Tunisia/Italy)

Set after World War II, this film follows a badly burned Englishman as he recounts his story to a young nurse. Flashbacks reveal an epic romance that spans from Italy to Egypt (with Tunisia standing in for the latter).

Available on: Amazon

Movies Set in North America

52. National Lampoon’s Vacation (USA)

The first movie in this beloved comedy series chronicles the accident-prone Griswold family on a road trip from Chicago to California. It’s a rare road trip, indeed, that’s free from any mishaps, though we hope even your worst family vacation memories can’t compare to the Griswold disasters.
Available on: Amazon, Hulu

53. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (USA)

In which a mismatched pair of travelers (played by Steve Martin and John Candy) are forced into a madcap adventure to get to Chicago before Thanksgiving. This is for anyone who can’t hear “Thanksgiving travel” without shuddering—at least we hope this puts a slightly comic spin on your next Thanksgiving travel day.

Available on: Amazon, Crackles

54. Wild (USA)

Based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of the same name, this film follows one troubled young woman (played by Reese Witherspoon) on a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail after her mother’s untimely death. The rugged trail—and, really, nearly any place you go—is both wonderful and dangerous, depending on how you approach it.

Available on: Amazon

55. Easy Rider (USA)

When you’re in the market for a classic American road trip movie—or planning your own classic American road trip—it’s hard to top 1969’s “Easy Rider,” in which Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper ride motorcycles through the southwest states.

Available on: Amazon, Crackle

56. Sideways (USA)

Part road trip, part wine celebration, “Sideways” follows two men as they drive through part of southern California’s wine country en route to the wedding of one of the men. The journey is not as carefree as you might expect. Merlot-hatred aside, the scenery might inspire wine lovers to plan a road trip.

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

>> Read our travel guide to Napa Valley.

57. A Walk in the Woods (USA)

This is the film version of the charming autobiographical Bill Bryson book of the same name, in which two out-of-shape old friends in their 60s (Robert Redford and Nick Nolte) attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. You’re never too old to get out there and see the world, though it might be a good idea to be a little better prepared than these two.

Available on: Amazon

58. Away We Go (USA)

A young couple expecting their first child isn’t sure they want to start a family in their Denver home, so they travel across the country hunting for a location they prefer. From Arizona to Wisconsin to Montreal to Miami, they visit family and friends and ultimately, find that place that just feels like home. 

Available on: Amazon, Hulu

59. The Terminal (USA)

Loosely based on the true story of a refugee who lived in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport for 18 years, this film is about an Eastern European man who lands in New York and then is unable to enter the United States or return home. There are some airports we like more than others, where we don’t necessarily dread longer layovers, but 18 years inside one airport? No, thank you.

Available on: Amazon

60. The Namesake (India/USA)

A young man born in New York to Indian parents struggles with how to reconcile his family’s traditions with his desire to fit into the country in which he was born, an emotional journey that takes him on an actual trip to Kolkata. This kind of trip is what you take when seeing your 23andMe results isn’t quite enough to give you a sense of who you are and where you came from.

Available on: Amazon

61. Schultze Gets the Blues (Germany/USA)

A retired German accordion-playing salt miner discovers Zydeco and travels to the American south to immerse himself in the music. You know that one thing you tasted or heard or read about that made you just have to plan a trip to that one place to eat/listen to/see it where it was born? That’s this film.

Available on: Amazon

62. Y Tu Mamá También (Mexico)

Two sex-crazed teenage boys invite a 28-year-old woman on a road trip across Mexico to a beach that doesn’t really exist. Along the way, they learn about life and love as they explore places like Mexico City and Oaxaca. 

Available on: Amazon, Netflix, Sling

Beach in Huatulco, Mexico.

63. Romancing the Stone (Mexico)

When a novelist’s brother-in-law is mysteriously murdered and her sister is kidnapped in Colombia (though the jungle scenes were primarily filmed in Mexico), she embarks on a wild adventure deep into the jungle to rescue her sister. The novelist, played by Kathleen Turner, enlists the help of a jungle-savvy bird smuggler, played by Michael Douglas. We wouldn’t wish this kind of trip on our worst enemies, but scenes of verdant jungles are still pretty to look at, right?

Available on: Amazon

Movies Set in South America

64. Now, Voyager (cruise)

This 1942 film stars Bette Davis as a woman who books a cruise to Brazil to get away from an overbearing mother. On the trip, she meets a man with whom she explores Rio de Janeiro. Obviously, singles cruises weren’t a thing when this movie was made, but finding romance on a cruise is nothing new.

Available on: Amazon

65. Up (South America)

Who says an adventure movie can’t be animated? Not the makers of “Up,” in which a widower whose house is lifted from its foundation (by an enormous bouquet of balloons) and floats to South America. 

Animators designed the environments based on trips to Venezuela.

Available on: Amazon, Disney+

66. The Motorcycle Diaries (South America)

Based on Che Guevara’s memoir, the film follows a young Che as he travels through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela via motorcycle with a friend. A long, rambling road trip with a friend always sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?

Available on: Amazon

Movies Set in Antarctica

Penguins in Antarctica.

67. Encounters at the End of the World (Antarctica)

This Werner Herzog documentary offers a glimpse of what everyday life in Antarctica is like for the scientists who live there. And, since many of us won’t ever set foot on the continent ourselves, this might be the next best thing.

Available on: Amazon

Movies Set in Australia/New Zealand

68. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Australia)

Two drag queens and one trans woman drive a gigantic tour bus through Australia’s Outback (as you do). Despite that unique premise, there’s something of an old-fashioned road trip story in this film—including the oddball characters you meet along the way.

Available on: Amazon, Vudu

69. Tracks (Australia)

This film, based on a true story, follows one woman as she makes her way roughly 1,700 miles across the Australian desert by camel. Even if you don’t want to replicate a challenging journey like this one, sometimes hearing about one (especially when it’s true) is enough to inspire you to try something new on your next trip.

Available on: Amazon

70. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (New Zealand)

While this epic story is set in the fictional Middle Earth, the New Zealand filming locations are very real—and nearly as epic as the tale itself. Tourism to New Zealand picked up in the wake of these films, and some of the sets even had to be recreated as tourist attractions (including Hobbiton).

Available on: Amazon

>> Read our travel guide to Central Otago, New Zealand

71. Whale Rider (New Zealand)

This award-winning film centers on a 12-year-old Māori girl who, despite traditional gender roles saying otherwise, dreams of becoming the leader of her tribe. It’s a wonderful look at Māori culture as well as a story of overcoming the restrictions culture puts on us.

Available on: Amazon, Tubi

Movies Set in Multiple Locations

72. The Endless Summer

This 1966 documentary follows two surfers on a round-the-world trip in search of great places to surf. They visit Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Hawaii. Traveling not just to check a place off a list, but rather because of a specific interest (like surfing, in this case) can be the ticket to learning more about countries and cultures than just what their tourist attractions can show you.

Available on: Amazon, Tubi

73. Catch Me If You Can

Based on the true story of a con man in the 1960s who pretended to be (among other things) a pilot and doctor before age 21, this film is especially great for fans of vintage air travel. Those classic Pan Am uniforms are particularly fantastic.

Available on: Amazon

74. Jason Bourne series

Begin with “The Bourne Identity” and continue through the franchise’s four sequels. Each takes place in several locations (including France, Greece, India, and Morocco), making good use of sweeping overhead shots to take in international cityscapes.

Available on: Amazon

75. Night on Earth

Five short stories set on a single night, each depicting a taxi ride in five different cities (Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, and Helsinki), showcase what can happen with the brief connections between taxi drivers and passengers.

Available on: Amazon

Jessica Spiegel

Jessica Spiegel

Freelance Writer

Jessica Spiegel is a freelance writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. She's an obsessive knitter and loves Italy, pho, Sazeracs, the Portland Timbers, and altruism.

Published August 8, 2023

Last updated December 19, 2023

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